Did you know you can host your own catered event in a luxury Old Town Chambers apartment? We have partnered with Barry Bryson head chef and owner of Cater Edinburgh to create amazing culinary experiences whilst you are staying in one of our apartments. From bespoke banquets to cocktail and canapé parties, Barry and his expert team can tailor a package to suit any event or budget. We chat to him about creating inspiring menus and why the partnership was a perfect fit!
Can you tell us a bit about your background, how you became a chef and your previous culinary experience?
I started my training like a lot of chefs quite early, firstly with a part-time job aged 15 in a local cafe in St. Andrews and then after that on to chef school for two and half years. I had started cooking with my mother much earlier than that, I was so interested in what she was doing with my dinner that I couldn't not get involved!
What made you want to start your own catering business in Edinburgh?
Previously I owned a small little eatery called Circle. We would often get asked to cater for clients and private parties and by the time I sold it, that side of the business had grown so much I was able to take on separate premises and work exclusively in events. I don't think there is any catering firm in the market positioned like us. We are a proud Chef fronted food-focused business, but my restaurant experience means I am also able to provide excellent front of house staff. I also do most of the pitching toclients directly, so I really can deliver what is promised at a pitch. I'm
also a local guy with 21 years experience of the city so I feel well positioned to understand what works in Edinburgh as well as the other cities we work in.
You create everything from hand-made canapes to contemporary dinning menus for events. Where do you get inspiration for your menus and dishes from?
In essence like a lot of chefs I'm drawn to natural simplicity and always looking to the season to determine what we should be cooking. I love strong, bold flavours as much as I love delicate ones but I try to be careful in how I present those dishes to get the best from both. I've been lucky enough to spend a fair bit of time in Spain so there are definitely some influences from there in my cooking. In terms of ingredients though, I'm Scottish all the way, or at least as much as I can be. I honestly believe we have the best natural Larder in the world to work from.
What different types of events have you created food for? Have there been any stand outs?
Cliche as it sounds no one day is the same and therefore the same applies to menus. I work a broad mix of corporate events with luxury brands, private clients, Arts venues and galleries, as well as the more unusual like outdoor events and even the odd boat! I could probably reel off every single event I've cooked on in the last five years as I like to document the work we do, but if one stands out it's probably catering my own wedding! I designed huge towers of Scottish seafood with tiered levels so guests ate their way to the top. My talented friend, the florist Ian Russell, created a huge living flower frame around the table which sat 60 so it looked spectacular even if I do say so myself! The fact it was at Jupiter artland obviously made it even more special.
If you could create your perfect menu, what would it be like?
It's mathematical. You take the season, type of event, client brief, and those tricky logistics of cooking offsite, and you make something work. We send out menus to people all the time but to be the perfect menu all the elements have to be considered.
You have a day in Edinburgh to yourself – what do you do?
Obviously it would involve a large amount of eating!!! I would start the day off with a walk on Portobello beach with my beloved pooch Vera. Then drive back into town, for breakfast at Aurora on Great Junction Street, just round the corner from my work premises. Then maybe take in some art at the Fruit Market Gallery, or a wander around Leith. Then off to lunch at L'escargot Bleu for steak tartare and a catch up with my good friend Sebastien who runs it! I would probably take another walk in the afternoon with Vera and my husband Robin, before meeting some pals at Le Roi Fou for dinner. That would pretty much be my perfect day.
Why was a partnership with Lateral City Apartments the perfect match?
I think we are a great match! I have also spent time working professionally within accommodation and food so I understand what makes Lateral City Apartments so special. Much like great food, great accommodation is achieved with no small amount of effort and the detail in these apartments as well as the original features, is fantastic. Plus, they have kitchens you can actually cook in! It has also reunited me with a long lost school friend, which has been a lovely thing to discover.